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NYIP Student Success: L. Ron Hubbard

It's not often we can say that a graduate of our New York Institute of Photography founded a successful world religion, frequented the best-seller booklists, was a distinguished explorer, and became an accomplished photographer. All this, and more, can be said about NYIP graduate L. Ron Hubbard. Bridge Publications has just released The L. Ron Hubbard Series, and we were fortunate to receive a copy of this impressive set of volumes. Of particular interest to us was the volume entitled Photographer: Writing with Light (click on the title to watch an overview video and see some of his stunning photographic works). 

Mr. Hubbard began his study in our correspondence course in late 1961, and many of the learning techniques became part of his Study Technology for teaching Scientology to thousands of people in classrooms around the world. 

L. Ron Hubbard's interest in photography began at an early age, starting with his childhood Kodak Brownie Jr. Once the country's youngest Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, he became a candidate for the Photography merit badge in the early 1920s. But it was a rocky road. Here's his account.

Down to the National Museum I went to see the examiner of the merit badge. He sat at a big desk in a room that was cluttered with human skulls and proceeded to inform me that I knew nothing about photography. I agreed with him perfectly and came again another day to find the same verdict. A month and ten visits later he signed my card just to be rid of me, telling me that I'd never know anything about photography due to my exceptional stupidity. This is rather abated by the fact that I just sold six pictures to the National Geographic magazine.

 Here are some of our favorite L. Ron Hubbard quotes on photography.

I've had to learn photography four times completely from scratch.

I won't take a photograph of anybody or photographs for anybody unless I feel it will do them some good.

I use the living daylights out of filters.

You can't pass up a shot just because you haven't got a special lens. You try to get the shot with the lens you have got. You will often find yourself on location without that special piece of equipment that has never been built and you will have to make up for it with your own ingenuity.

An amateur, for some reason, tries to get the most possible into one frame. He also does not see the world, from a photographic viewpoint, with a frame around it. He does not fill the frame. And he does not delete unwanted things.

Make the picture talk.

Preconceive the picture you are going to shoot. 


We're the New York Institute of Photographya distance education school teaching photography since 1910 - over 100 years of knowledge and experience. Listen to the following podcast to learn more about who we are and what we do.



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Reader Comments (50)

Chuck I really like your quote: "at a time when a small number of individuals around the globe are lashing out at people with different beliefs, a universal language that can promote understanding has never been more necessary." We all need to be tolerant of other people's religious beliefs. People are free to believe what they believe, and it is more important that we understand one another than give in to hate, jealousy, fear, discrimation, etc. Photography and other arts can definitely help this a greater understanding of one another.
September 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael
While the post is fascinating, the comments are even more fascinating. It looks like this is the one corner of the internet where scientology is not the butt of some joke or suspected of being a cult. I don't know what's more likely, though, are the comments rigged or is photography the key to peace?

Whatever the case, NYIP has a great course.
September 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJun
I think this is an awesome article! And Chuck DeLaney's comments are spot on.

Knowing that Mr. Hubbard had taken your pro course in the 1960's, is what helped me decide to sign up for your Complete Course in Professional Photography , which I'm currently working on.

For anyone to comment that they wouldn't take your course now because they discovered that someone they don't like also did the course is frankly cuckoo loco.

Mr. Hubbard unquestionably applied the principles in your course to the max. Anyone who looks at his work and who can't see that, probably shouldn't waste their money on your outstanding course, because they likely wouldn't use any part of it anyway.
September 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRon Savelo
Congratulation Mister Hubbard.Fantastic photo and data !
Great article!
Fantastic also book of L.Ron Hubbard about Scientology , Pulp and Science Fiction.
September 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterantonella
Thanks to Chuck DeLaney and NYIP for a great article and for teaching great photography !!!
September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterD Levy
As a NYIP student and a life-long Scientologist, I am happy and grateful to read such an unbiased and positive article about the photographic accomplishments of the founder of my religion. It was in fact through L.Ron Hubbard's lectures on study technology that I first heard of the NYIP photography course. After meeting several people who did the course who are now pro photographers I decided to give it a go- and here I am, located at the side end of the Atlantic just starting out to learn about the fascinating art of painting with light ! So far I love this course! :)
Thank you Mr. Johnson for this article and also to the dean for his neutral, fair and well-worded comment!
Bettina K., Switzerland
September 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBettina K.
Hi Mr. DeLaney,
Thank You for the post on Mr. Hubbard and his experience with Photography (NYIP) these quotes are sensible will work with that. Also thank you for respecting his religion and all religious rights of others this is America! Many happy photos to you!
September 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTina K
A good friend of mine who is a professional photographer took your extension course some years ago - he learned about it after hearing Hubbard did it. Great the institute is doing so well. Thanks for posting this.
September 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWalter
Good article on L. Ron Hubbard, he is good to read, one can always learn from him. As far as religion, our country was founded with the concept of FREEDOM and RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. People get angry at other religions because of the Inquisition type tortures and treatments to "convince" people to not believe in any other religion. The root of the word "Heretic" is Greek and it means "choice" and people were tortured if they had a choice or freedom. Note that older religions like Hinduism or Buddhism didn't do that.
October 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFredo
M. Delaney,

An inclusive policy is noble and to your credit. However, please understand that scientology critics are not lashing out against the "church" for its beliefs, but against its well documented practices of disconnection, aggressive harassment of ex-members and critics, recruitment and abuse of minors, high-pressure sollicitation of course fees and donations beyond the donator's means, physical and mental abuse among many other appaling behavior.

Another well documented point is M. Hubbard's very long list of, let's call it "enhanced", experiences and accomplishments.

A few people asked if M. Johnson is a scientologist because the article reads as if it were written by one. At least we can suspect M. Johnson inserted of self-praising text that a church representative asked to be included.
October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Z
Most people don't know L Ron Hubbard was also a nuclear physicist and he wrote one of the definitive texts on radiation
October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJean
Dear Mr. DeLaney and Mr. Johnson,

As Susan Z said, it is NOT the beliefs of scientologists that are the problem, but the practices and behaviors of the church and some of its hard-core adherents. They may believe whatever they want, I couldn't care less. What I do care about are the lives that are ruined because this religion has not been stopped from committing criminal acts of abuse, kidnapping, intimidation, stalking and fraud. This organization says they are a religion when it serves their purposes but claims they are NOT a religion when that serves their purposes. They can't have it both ways.
I met and worked for Mr. Hubbard in 1968. He was truly charismatic but he was clearly a sociopath (no, I don't hold any degrees in psychology). The problem with using him to promote your courses is that he lied to hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting people during his infamous career. He is not seen as an example of goodness, kindness, integrity, fairness or compassion outside of the church. He is considered a con man, a liar, a fake. The truth of his personal life is nothing like what the church pushes -- not his early childhood stories, not his college record, not his military career -- none of it.
You will be a laughingstock if you keep Hubbard as an example of success from your courses.
October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMartha
In response to Jean's post:

Poe's Law or "Another well documented point is M. Hubbard's very long list of, let's call it "enhanced" experiences and accomplishments."

One clarification I would like to make in regards to the suspicion that a scientologist wrote or contributed to M. Johnson's blog is the inclusion of Hubbard quotes which is often a giveaway.

In view of the fact that scientologists consider all of Hubbard's non-fiction writings as scripture and despite all scientologist protests to the contrary, they cannot claim religious or secular context whenever they see fit. Depending on NYIP's blogging policies, M. Johnson's inclusion of Hubbard quotes is exactly comparable to quoting the Bible or the Quran.
October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Z
Most people don't know L Ron Hubbard was also a Civil Engineer and a leading Horticulturalist
October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJean
Most people don't know L Ron Hubbard prevented a nuclear holocaust orchestrated by none other than Richard Nixon and the world's top nuclear physicists AND masterfully confused a computer.
October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Z
Another little-known fact is that Hubbard was almost run over by a locomotive on Venus.
October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave
I agree, I really don't think you should discriminate when it comes to good photos. The BTK Killer had an interest in photography and added some historical insights to Polaroid photography. Will you be featuring him here also?
October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterN. Graham
Most people don't know L Ron Hubbard was also an intrepid barnstormer, and invented the Air Force.
October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJean
I really hate it when people don't mention in Mr. Hubbard's biographies that he went to heaven TWICE!
October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterN. Graham
Most people don't know L Ron Hubbard warded off a Japanese invasion only at a spitballl's distance from the Oregon coast.
October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Z
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